Luke Griffiths produced the performance of the day to knock out top seed Duncan Stahl and advance to the semi-finals of the Men’s Singles as the FIR World Tour made its long-awaited return at the IWT London Open.
Griffiths will be joined in the semi-finals by brother Leon and Calum Reid who both cruised through their opening matches. Matt Davidson completes the semi-final line-up after a hard-fought win over Matt Haynes.
Elsewhere, Amke Fischer and Matilda Parslow began their tournaments with a win in the Women’s Singles as they look to set up a much-anticipated final on Sunday.
Luke Griffiths Comes of Age and Proves he’s a Contender
Luke Griffiths has been on course to become a regular A grade contender for several years and it looks like that time has now come.
Duncan Stahl took advantage of the contest early on, winning the table tennis 21-17 with an impressive performance. That lead didn’t last long though. Griffiths was characteristically strong in his badminton set, cruising to a 21-7 victory and running into a 10 point lead.
The squash ended up being the pivotal sport in the contest. Historically you would expect Griffiths to struggle in squash, especially with it being Stahl’s best discipline. Instead, Griffiths went toe-to-toe with the top seed, trailing just 11-9 at the break. Stahl took the win but Griffiths managed to get 16, a big result giving him a five-point lead into tennis.
The tennis was clinical from Griffiths, winning 17-4 on a slipping court to hand him one of the best results of his career.
Leon Griffiths and Calum Reid Cruise to Victory while Davidson Wins a Thriller
In the semi-finals, Griffiths will take on former world champion Calum Reid. Looking in supreme shape on his comeback tournament, Reid blew past young Ross Wilson, winning 21-8, 21-10, 21-3. Reid now sets his sights on Luke Griffiths in an unmissable match between two great trailblazers of UK Racketlon.
Another trailblazer, Leon Griffiths, also strolled into the semi-finals with a routine win over Jermaine Manners. A 21-9, 21-4, 21-15 victory over the British great sees Leon Griffiths cement his status as the tournament favourite.
Will Matt Davidson be the player to stop him in the semi-finals? Davidson emerged victorious from the Battle of the Matts as he took down Matthew Haynes in a gruelling encounter. Haynes bulldozed the table tennis with a 21-9 victory before Davidson fought back, winning the badminton 21-18 and squash 21-8. Despite a heavy fall on the tennis court, Davidson rallied to eventually win 18-7.
Luke Griffiths vs. Calum Reid and Matthew Davidson vs. Leon Griffiths. It’s a couple of cracking semi-final matches. Could we see an all-Griffiths final or will Reid or Davidson upset the party? The Men’s Singles final will be live-streamed on Facebook at 14:15BST/15:15CET.
Fischer and Parslow Make the Perfect Start
All the expectations before the tournament were that the Women’s A Singles title will come down to a clash between Amke Fischer and Matilda Parslow. That looks increasingly likely after a blistering opening day for the pair.
Fischer took on U16 Girls World Champion Alexandra Ogram with an impressive win before tennis. Young Ogram did put up an impressive fight though, taking 12 in a competitive squash set.
Parslow also had a strong start to proceedings. The Brit cruised past debutant Irina Sanderson with a 21-5, 21-19, 21-2 victory before tennis, with the badminton set a real highlight.
Parslow and Fischer will now have to face Ogram and Sanderson respectively first. If they both come through those matches then it’ll be Fischer vs. Parslow for the title. Will Fischer defend her London Open title?
The Women’s A Singles continues on Sunday.
A full review of the Doubles action will be coming soon, while there will also be a full review of all the non-elite categories on Monday.
The full results from the IWT London Open can be viewed here.
Watch the live stream of the Men’s A Singles final on Facebook here.
Has this motivated you to play racketlon? The full FIR World Tour is available here and anyone can enter.
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer
Image / James Pope